Old China Hands lunch 8 November

Modest crowd

Our Old China Hands lunch 8 November saw a grand total of 25, due to COVID complications and other. It was somehow good to have a reduced crowd as CCTV4 was running around filming us and Morel’s Restaurant has a lack of staff.
Yeah CCTV4 is making (again) a documentary about me…

But food was great again. This time we saw pockets of French, German, Flemish and English speaking corners, making it pretty international…

Our Hutong Man

Once again Terry in the news. this time on BRTV (Beijing Radio and TV). who shows his Chinese skills and how he is part of the hutong community.

Link of the video clip is here.
Google translation (edited) from the introduction:
“Unexpected Beijing”  American Gao Tianrui, I am “Xichengyang Aunt”
BRTV Youth 21 October 2022
Gao Tianrui from the USA has lived in Beijing for 27 years. A few years ago, he set up his home in a hutong near Shichahai in Beijing, and developed a strong interest in the work of community volunteers. In 2017, he joined the volunteer team of “Aunt Xicheng” and became a member of the Ping An volunteers in Xicheng District, and became well-known. Wearing a red vest and a red armband he is regularly walking in the alleys of Shichahai, enjoying volunteering. His favorite idiom is “helping others.” For him, the Shichahai community is his home.

See previous posts here.

Beijing Workers Stadium story3

Gongti South and East

In Beijing Workers Stadium story3 a look at the less talked about developments in the Gongti area. Indeed TheBeijinger and China Daily have been showing some details of the Workers Stadium but little or nothing about the other constructions going on in the area. See earlier post.
Much more to come, stay tuned!
In the Workers Stadium East Road (gongti dong lu) a big rather strange building is taking shape. That is supposed to be the “China Philharmonic Orchestra Concert Hall and Rehearsal Facilities” according to some Chinese signs at the construction site. No details available…

In this design sketch, the concert hall is right on the left of the new stadium. The view shown is from the north-east corner of the gongti area.
In the same picture, in the upper left corner, barely visible, are 3 buildings, located at the south-east corner of gongti area. Most of those are on Workers Stadium South Road (gongti nan lu).
Those buildings are really a bit mysterious, nobody talks about it. On the construction entrance (gongti nanlu) they mention something like “Tennis, Swimming Pool and 9 other items including Museum renovation and Beijing Staff Sports Service Center”. The two buildings on that road are very big and empty inside, so I guess at least one is a swimming facility.

See the pictures taken since may 2021 until recently with the progress of those buildings. On gongti nan lu it all started with an enormous excavation pit, there must be a lot underground.
See the dates and the locations. They are now putting windows. I still have no idea about the huge steel beams sticking out.

Other constructions nobody talks about

Right in front of Morel’s Restaurant in the night of 31 May 2018 they were pumping mud into an improvised water basin. We guess it was related to the underground work for Subway line 3. The following day all was gone without a trace! Impressive!

What is going on in and around the Workers Gymnasium is also a mystery. See a nice recent shot from the gymnasium and the buildings being razed around it on the south-west corner of the gymnasium, very close to Julong Garden.
They might also break down the interior of the gymnasium, with many trucks taking away mountains of construction debris. Right now the mountain of debris are gone and the last trucks are picking up what can be recycled. But nothing to see outside of the gymnasium… so not sure.
The statues of the Stadium area are still at the gymnasium but are expected to be put back soon.
On Workers Stadium West Road (gongti xi lu, my street), also mystery construction on the sidewalk that started in July 2022. Soon in August steel structures came up. At least one of the 3 constructions spots would be an electric substation of China Grid for the area.
Also the new big gates of the Workers Stadium are rising up (north and west sides).


Old China Hands lunch 7 October

Full house

The Old China Hands lunch 7 October came at the very end of the “Golden Week” of National Day (1 October). We were a bit worried about attendance but we had 34 happy Beijingers.
With all the restrictions and worries with the zero-COVID paranoia, many people in Beijing decided not to leave the city so Morel’s Restaurant had very busy days.

While we always loose members we also welcome new faces, some visiting Morel’s for the first time.
Food was as always great. See a few pics of the dishes.

Our Hutong Man

Yes, Terry Crossman again.

Another “Terry in the news” (19 May 2018)

See previous post about Terry.
He was also in Old China Hands stars.
I found one more video on CCTV-4:
《外国人在中国》 20180422 西城“洋大妈”
CCTV-4 Chinese International Channel
“Foreigners in China” 20180422 “Foreign Aunt” in Xicheng
Watch it here.

Next lunch

Next one is on Friday 4 November. Attendance is not open, advance registration with me is mandatory. All nationalities and backgrounds are welcome but only for “foreigners” (non-Chinese ID) with ten years of China experience. Next spring it will be our 10th anniversary!

Belgium Day in Beijing

Ambassador’s residence

Very often Belgium Day in Beijing on 21 July is not celebrated as it is in the middle of summer and many people are away. Mostly 15 November, Kings Day, replaces the real national day.

Our Ambassador Jan Hoogmartens this year opened his residence for a very nice celebration, well attended by the hardcore Belgians in Beijing, on 21 July.

It was a wonderful and relaxed evening.
The residence is behind the construction of the new embassy, design by our Belgian architect Nicolas Godelet (NG-Lab).

Buffet by Morel’s

To the satisfaction of all Renaat Morel spoiled us all with his buffet. I was happy to lend a hand, fully dressed in my chef’s attire with Belgian colors. I think it’s fun to help! Big success for the lasagna, Belgian fries and all the other goodies. People also tried the Belgian Natural Artisan Ice Cream.
The ambassador kindly sponsored the whole evening, the food and the drinks. Thank you!

Best Belgian food in Beijing (3)

Afternoon tea

Best Belgian food in Beijing (3) focuses on afternoon tea, a typical Dutch sandwich and flowers. Of course in Morel’s Restaurant.

The restaurant is open in the afternoon and is popular for its sumptuous afternoon tea.

What is a “smos sandwich”?

Friends who are regulars are sometimes treated to unusual specials, like the Martino and also the broodje smos, or smos or smoske.

A smos sandwich, sometimes called smos or smoske, is the Flemish name for a sandwich or piece of baguette often topped with cheese, ham, vegetables and egg slices. The name comes from the Flemish word ‘smossen’ which means to spill. So much topping is put in between the sandwich that it often spills while eating. In Wallonia the name “dagobert” is used, and in Brussels “sandwich club”.

The bun is first spread with mayonnaise or another sauce and then topped with vegetables and slices of hard-boiled egg. Vegetables that are used include lettuce, tomato and cucumber. Usually cheese and/or ham or, for example, crab salad is also added. There are also variants where deep-frying products such as a frikandel or meat croquette are placed between the sandwich.

In the province of Antwerp and in Sint-Niklaas, they use the word smos for a sandwich without cheese and ham with only vegetables on it. In that case, you order a smos and say the topping that goes on after it (for example a smos cheese or smos ham). If you order a smos in West Flanders, Sint-Niklaas or in Antwerp, you can receive different sandwiches.
The sandwich has similarities with the Dutch sandwich “gezond”.

A flower paradise

Susan Morel and her team also takes care of the wonderful flower arrangements, and some flower gifts for the ladies. As mentioned earlier Susan has become a real master florist.

I admit many of the flowers I have no idea about. She sources them from all over China.